Type a quick search into Pinterest and you can find a bazillion different blog posts on what you should pack in your hospital bag. But what if you aren’t going to a hospital? What if you aren’t preparing for a normal birth, but a natural one? You’re probably going to pack a little differently- I know I am!
My due date is in less than a month, and it’s high time for me to get packing my bag. Here’s a peek inside what I’m bring along to the birth center with me, to help be through my (planned) natural labor and delivery!
ESSENTIAL OILS & MASSAGE OIL– I will be bringing a full medicine chest of oils to my birth. Here’s what I’m planning to have on hand, and what they are used for:
Serenity– A sedative and anti-anxiety blend, Serenity will be diffused in the labor room to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere, as well as quell any fears and anxiety I may have.
Peppermint– Not to be used topically as it can inhibit milk production, but can be inhaled for energy or to quell nausea, as well as put in the toilet to help dilate the bladder so I can pee.
Lavender– Great for relaxation, as well as perineum care. Will also be used in postpartum pads and peri-bottles and spray.
On Guard- An immunity blend that is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, we’ll be using this in an all-purpose spray to sanitize the birth room, and also the birth ball.
Deep Blue– A pain relief blend, I have been using this every night on my back for the past few weeks, and will continue to use during labor, especially for back labor.
Breathe– Many mothers suffer from a small degree of pregnancy-related congestion, and I have been no exception. Should it become worse during labor, this respiratory blend will come in handy.
Clary Sage– This is used to make contractions more effective and also to restart a stalled labor. Is also effective in helping to deliver placenta.
Coconut Oil– Used to apply any of these oils topically, as well as for perineum care during second stage labor. We will also apply this to the baby’s bottom with her first diaper to make her first poops easier to clean up!
HOMEOPATHICS– While my education in homeopathic medicine is very much beginning, I have been advised that there are a few remedies that are great for labor and delivery:
Pulsatilla– Given that baby girl has a tendency to be posterior, pulsatilla is very useful for babies that aren’t in an optimal position.
Nux Vomica– Useful if mama is nauseous during labor, particularly in the transition period.
Arnica– Great to help aches and pains subside after birth, as well as speed the healing of bruising and swelling. Can also be used for baby in the event of a traumatic birth.
FOOD– Yes, I am allowed to eat during labor- actually not just allowed, but encouraged. I’ve got a litany of high-protein snacks on the docket- both for Matt and I to have to keep our energy up. Homemade energy balls, trail mix, and brothy soups will be at the top of the list. In addition, the birth center requires me to eat a decent meal before we are discharged- haven’t decided what that will be just yet, but that’ll get packed as well.
DRINKS– Many ‘hospital bag checklists’ encourage moms to chug gatorade during labor, but I just can’t do it- too many chemicals and crazy ingredients in there! Instead, I’m making my own homemade ‘labor aid‘ to take with me- something that I (hopefully) will be able to easily whip up in the early stages of labor while I am still at home. In addition, I’ll be bringing coconut water, some of my home-blended pregnancy support tea (which also balances hormones following the birth), and ginger tea, in case I get nauseous. I will likely also make some strong red raspberry leaf tea to then freeze into ice chips art the birth center- keeping me cool and refreshed but also strengthening the uterus during labor!
MUSIC. Music is a big part of our lives, and can be a great relaxation aid if you’ve been using it correctly! We’re making labor playlists, loading them onto our phones, and bringing an iPod dock.
CLOTH DIAPERS– We went back and forth on this for a while, but yes- we will be using cloth diapers from the beginning. We were gifted with some beautiful newborn diapers, and we’ll just use disposable inserts in the inside until all the meconium passes. From then on, it’s all cloth, all the time! Of course, we are going into this process with a standard of grace- if the cloth is too much to handle in the beginning, we will simply use disposables for a while. But, for the time being, that’s just the backup plan.
SHOWER SUPPLIES– I’m not 100% that I will take a shower at the birth center before coming home, but I’d like to have my own things with me if I feel like it! I got a nice exfoliating washcloth and packed a travel size of my favorite natural shower gel.
CLOTHES FOR MOM AND BABY– This might seem like a given, but the way the pregnant brain works, it’s best to put it on the list. Though I am not set on organic cotton on the whole, I have been gifted some lovely organic baby clothes that I’ll be bringing to the hospital for the little girl- just because it feels special 🙂 For me, it’s all about comfort, of course! I’ll be bringing a few changes of comfy outfits (in case the nasty takes them hostage haha), and then something clean to save to go home in. Very important- cheap or old changes of underwear, and cheap, dark socks. These things tend to get messy during a natural birth, so the dark colors come in handy.
BIRTH BALL– this is actually provided in many birth centers, but I’m bringing mine just in case. A birth ball is nothing more than a large exercise ball– you can spend more money and get one that says ‘birth ball’ on it if you really want to, but they are all the same. The rolling and bouncing motions that the birth ball supports allows the mother to remain in motion with very little effort, which can be soothing, help dilate, and fend off muscle cramps.
REBOZO– This is something that I had never really heard of until I took Bradley Method classes and our instructor introduced us! A rebozo is nothing more than a long, wide scarf that can be tied in different ways around the mama and used to support the belly or even lift the baby into a more favorable position. It’s useful in the weeks leading up to labor to encourage good positioning, as well as during labor to correct, if necessary. Also, they’re really pretty 🙂
RICE SOCK– So easy! We made these in our Bradley Method class, and they are so great. Simply take a large men’s athletic sock and fill it with rice. You can then heat it in the microwave or even cool it in the freezer to provide gentle relief wherever you need it. You can also use a few drops of essential oils for a great aromatherapeutic experience!
DISPOSABLES– For me. While I’d love to employ the use of MamaCloth or something similar, cloth diapers will be enough to wash! I am bringing padsicles and also some women’s disposable underwear– definitely not glamorous, but will be easy and one less thing to worry about.
BLANKETS– 2, to be precise. One receiving blanket to wrap baby in after the birth, and a heavier one to snuggle around her in her car seat on the way home.
SWIMSUIT TOP– Who knows if I’ll actually use this, to be honest. More women lose all inhibitions in labor and end up walking around naked (in a natural birth) and given that I am a human heater already, I’m betting I’m no different. But, if I am looking for some sort of modesty, I want something available to me, particularly for birthing in the tub.
SITZ BATH HERBS– Because I am sent home (if delivery is routine) between 4-6 hours after the birth, I don’t know if this is something that I will actually use at the birth center or if it will be used at home instead, but I’ll be bringing it just in case. A sitz bath herb pack includes an herbal blend that is designed to speed healing of the nether regions following birth and sooth any discomfort down there. A shallow bath is drawn and a ‘tea’ is made with the herbs in the bath- you relax and heal, perhaps even with baby in with you! Ready-made sitz bath herb packs are available, or you can prepare your own sitz bath herb blend.
Last, but not least, PERSONAL COMFORTS. This could be anything- for me, it’s a range of anything from my favorite pre-packaged facial cleansing wipes to the best lip balm, natural hand sanitizer to significant jewelry.
Did you have a natural birth- in a hospital, birth center, or at home? What was on your packing list? Let’s see if we can grow this list as a resource!